Northern Ireland (UK)

CrisisWatch Northern Ireland (UK)

Unchanged Situation

Hoax bomb threat against Irish FM raised prospect of Loyalist groups escalating campaign against Northern Ireland Protocol. Paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) 25 March reportedly coerced driver to transport hoax bomb to car park of Houben Centre in capital Belfast, where Irish FM Simon Conveney was attending peacebuilding event; security alert halted Conveney’s speech and evacuated him from location. Loyalists indicated in media reports that incident marked start of renewed campaign against Northern Ireland Protocol – post-Brexit arrangements for UK-EU trade that created regulatory border in Irish Sea. Protesters 25 March rallied in Ballymoney town demanding UK govt overturn protocol. Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie 27 March criticised anti-protocol rallies for “raising tensions” and acknowledged “media reports quoting UVF sources that they intend to escalate their terrorist activities in the coming weeks”.
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